Welcome to Charming Acres, in what appears to be set in the 1950s or so. A young man runs in the night to a diner as it is closing. He knocks on the door and a young woman, Sunny (Caitlin Ashley-Thompson) answers. The man says he’s leaving and he wants Sunny to go with him, but she can’t go. She says she made a promise but insists that he goes without her. He obeys and literally runs out of town to a gas station just beyond the town sign.
It’s not 1950-something, it the present. And as soon as the young man enters the gas station, he hears a high-pitched ringing that gives him a headache. He asks the clerk for a phone and takes the cell phone in front of him. Before he can dial, the young man’s head starts to boil up and it explodes, making the store clerk throw up. Gross!
Everyone is still recovering from the whole Michael ordeal, but Cas is worried about Jack. Jack was basically being held together by a spell that included angel grace that burns his soul when he used it. He used what power he had to kill Michael. Now Cas wonders how much of Jack’s soul is left. Jack says he feels different, but doesn’t know how much of his soul that he used.
Meanwhile, Dean is a-okay, eating a big sandwich and telling Cas how Sam is moping around. Sam is sad that Michael killed so many hunters, including Maggie (Katherine Evans). He’s been trying to keep his mind busy, going on hunt after hunt after hunt. Dean is tired and requests a day off, but Sam is ready to keep going. Cas offers to go with Sam and asks Dean to talk to Jack. At first, Dean refuses, but Jack looks up to him so he has to try.
Sam and Cas arrive at the gas station, thinking they are dealing with witches. The clerk tells them about the incident, saying it was like a scene from a movie. He also says that Conrad had a look about him, so he assumes he is from a weird place called Charming Acres.
They drive into town and yeah, it’s weird. Everything looks like it straight out of the movie Pleasantville, after they discover color. Cas and Sam meet a couple named Justin (Guy Christie) and Cindy Smith (Kimberley Shoniker). Justin points them to Harrington’s diner and is mesmerized by Sam’s cell phone.
As soon as they enter the diner, Sunny has milkshakes waiting for them. Sam takes a drink and it’s the best thing he’s ever tasted. Cas doesn’t drink the kool-aid though. They meet Chip Harrington (Bill Down), Sunny’s father, the owner of the diner, and mayor. Chip was expecting them, saying they live in a small town so word gets around quick. They ask Chip about the young man who’s head exploded. He says he heard the boy died from an aneurysm. Cas corrects him saying the kid’s head exploded. Everyone stops dead in their tracks and stares at Cas. Sam says they are trying to find out anything they can about him. Chip sends him to the boarding house where the man was living.
The boarding house owner meets them at the door, expecting them, of course. Small town. Sam asks about the other ‘people’ she rents to. The owner says she only rents to men. It’s inappropriate for a woman to live alone. She says people have to have morals. She looks at Cas and says he knows what she’s talking about.
They look around the room and find love letters under the bed. The graphic letters are from Sunny. Sam suggests they stay at the boarding house for the evening. They will pick up their investigation the next morning.
Cindy Smith sets the dinner table as Justin continues to obsess over a cell phone. He says he bought a cell phone for his daughter Rose. Cindy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Justin says he doesn’t belong there and runs out the door. He yells for help and his head starts to boil. As he runs away down the sidewalk, his head explodes.
Meet Mr. Smith
The next morning, Cas goes to wake up Sam, but he’s already up and around. Cas finds the owner cleaning up in the living room. She offers him food, but he only wants to know where Sam is. She says Sam went for a walk and a milkshake.
Cas heads to Harrington’s and asks Sunny about Sam. At first, she avoids telling him anything, then tells him about what happened to Mr. Smith. Cas goes to the Smith house to look for Sam. He tells Cindy that they wanted to talk to her about her husband’s death. Cindy doesn’t know anything about her husband dying. She tells Cas that he’s confused. Mr. Smith walks in and it’s Sam! He has on a sweater and glasses and his hair is pulled back. He doesn’t remember Cas or that they are partners. Cas is confused and curses in frustration. Sam…Mr. Smith gets angry and throws Cas out for cursing.
Do Snakes Have Souls?
Dean is worried about the new pet snake he acquired from the Gorgon. The snake isn’t eating. Dean tells him to give him bacon because he likes bacon and that’s what he’s cooking. He also asks Jack to go with him on a field trip.
They leave for their field trip and Jack brought the snake with him, making Dean nervous. He tells Jack to eat something, but he’s not hungry. Dean tells him to feed the snake, but he only has snack cakes. Devil’s Food Cake or Angel’s Food Cake. Dean is relieved when Jack picks the Angels Food Cake to feed to his snake.
They arrive at Donatello’s (Keith Szarabajka) house the next morning. Dean isn’t very good at talking to Jack about his soul, so he thought Donatello would have better luck since he doesn’t have one. Dean stays outside, near the car, not in it. He’s very afraid of that tiny snake.
Donatello tells Jack how God’s sister, the Darkness, ripped his soul out of his body. It wasn’t the best day. It wasn’t the worst day either. Donatello says he felt like the galaxy…bright and shiny, but empty in the middle. He says he doesn’t feel anything. Losing your soul doesn’t make you bad, or anything. It’s an absence of pity, empathy, and humanity.
So how does Jack feel? He doesn’t know. He says he doesn’t feel the same, but he doesn’t know what nothing feels like. Most of all, he doesn’t want Sam, Dean or Cas to worry about him. Donatello says worrying comes with having a family. Jack says he needs time and space to figure things out, but someone is always looking over his shoulder. Donatello says when he needs to blend he asks himself “what would Mr. Rogers do.” Mr. Rogers is the best man he knows. Jack says Sam and Dean are the best men he knows. Donatello tells him to keep them from worrying, ask himself, WWWD? What would the Winchester do?
Jack is ready to go and gets in the car to check on the snake. Dean asks Donatello what his final verdict is. At first, Donatello says Jack seems okay. But he’s the most powerful being in the universe, so who knows what’s going on in his head.
What Are You?
Cas returns to the diner to confront Sunny. He thinks she’s a witch. Sunny says its not her, but someone else. That someone else is Chip. He has some kind of psychic mind control power over the town. He explains that he made the town the way it is because people were unhappy. Chip explains that when the mill shut down, the town started dying. One day he had this power and the people have been happy ever since.
There are two people he can’t control…Sunny and Cas. Sunny must be like him, whether she likes it or not. And Cas, well, he’s not human. Chip decides to dispose of Cas, setting his goons on him. Cas is able to easily fight off the men, but Sam is one of these goons. Sam overpowers Cas and tries to stab him with an angel blade. Cas has to reach down deep and remind Sam of his pain. The pain of failing Dean and Jack. Sam snaps out of his trance and returns to normal.
Meanwhile Sunny is upset with her father, calling him a monster for killing her friend. He tries to put the blame on Sunny, but she knows better. Sam and Cas come to her defense, but she has the same power as her father. She stops him from hurting Sam and puts Chip in a catatonic state. She trapped her father in his mind in a beautiful world, where he can never hurt anyone again.
Peace of Mind
Dean and Jack return to the bunker. Dean asks if Jack had a good time and Jack says it was illuminating. Sam and Cas come in right after. Dean asks about their trip and the cardigan. Ha! Cas called Dean and told him everything. Dean asks if he was really happy. Sam says he was but it wasn’t real. He says he hates the bunker and what happened there. That’s why he keeps running away. The bunker is their home and Sam needs some time to get over what happened.
Jack is back in his room, talking to the snake. Cas told Jack the snake might miss his friend, the Gorgon. Jack wants to do anything he can to help the snake because that’s what the Winchesters would do. So he burns the snake, turning it to ash, saying the snake will be reunited with his friend. Cas watches from the door, concerned about what Jack has just done.
This was a nice little episode for the boys to regroup and figure out what to focus on next. Sam definitely needs a spa day. I’m surprised that Dean wasn’t worse off.
I feel like Jack is in his teen years, mentally and emotionally. Remember that he was pretty much born full grown. He has a lot to learn about life on earth. Cas and the Winchesters had to know that at some point, Jack was going to feel smothered. Everyone needs some time and space at this point…but with one eye on Jack. He is Lucifer’s son.